66. Julien Chesné on When Good Visuals Meet Bad Ideas & Why Consumers Don’t Have Misconceptions

Art Director for JWT, Julien Chesné has +8 years experience working with brands to build powerful advertising campaigns.

How do you know when you have a winning idea? Everybody can be creative. But the hardest part of being creative is keeping your idea alive and developing it as it makes its way through the creative process of becoming a final advertising campaign. This requires experience; experience and bouncing your ideas off as many experienced creatives as you can get your hands on.

If you tell your idea to an experienced creative or two whom you trust and they wince, then be willing to question your idea and work on it some more.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In our interview, Rémi Noel, Creative Director notes that you mustn’t think that “your point of view is the only point of view. Your idea is your baby, not everyone else’s baby. Listen to other people and be humble – understand their point of view. Sometimes you have to calm down and understand that it takes time for other people to get as excited about your product as you are.”

Also, in his book Hegarty on Creativity, Sir John Hegarty states that “It can be easy to settle on something that feels right. Something that seems to make sense of all the confusion. You’ll feel relief when you get to this point. You’ll think you’ve cracked it. You’ll feel good. But then you have to take a step back from what feels really good and ask: But is it great?”

What are the typical components of a creative brief?

  • Main information about the brand and product
  • A strong insight that is unique to the brand or product – an understood truth about the brand or product that target consumers already have in their mind when they think about the product – the connection between the brand and the target consumer. This is the most important ingredient of your creative brief. The button the advertising campaign will press with the consumer.
  • The target consumer demographic
  • Type of media
  • The budget
  • Competitors
  • Time constraints

What are some campaigns you have worked on? Toyota, Reporters Without Borders, Bouygues, Total, BMW, Nestlé

Ads are either predominantly visual or prominently text, how you decide which should take the lead? It really isn’t a choice. The advertising idea you choose dictates which avenue you take.

How do you choose a visual? Above all, everything you decide to put into your advertising must protect the idea. It often happens that good advertising ideas can come with a bad visual which kills the idea. The perfect ad has a great idea, a great visual and great photo.

Bad ideas cannot be saved with a good visual, but sometimes this mistake can be made.

What are a few of your favorite advertising campaigns? 

What are some misconceptions brands commonly have about advertising? That the more you show your product, the more people will want your product.  Yes, Apple advertisements are known for only showing a photo of their phone, but with the iPhone you really just have to show the screen and it’s an advertisement because the product is so good and unique and all of the ideas are on the product that they don’t have to come up with additional ideas for their advertising. Building your key insight and idea into your product so that the product becomes its own advertising would be your dream goal. But if you cannot do this, then you must put the idea into your advertising.

What are some misconceptions consumers commonly have about advertising? Advertising is made for consumers; therefore I would say that consumers do not have misconceptions. If consumers think an ad is bad, is deceptive, or is doing more harm than good, they are right.

So I would say that consumers don’t have misconceptions, they have opinions based on experiences and prejudgments, and it is up to the brand to either conform to those preconceived opinions or work to change them.

I agree with Eric Auvinet that there can be a great competitive advantage for brands using ‘real’ people in their advertising rather than paying professional models to pose in their advertising for consumers to compare themselves to and to aspire to.

Jealousy is a natural human emotion, but consumers today seem to be getting fed up with being compared to ‘perfection’ and are more receptive to accepting who you are.

I want to do your job, any advice? Advertising is like running in a marathon at a sprinting pace. You truly have to be strong and love advertising. It is getting more and more difficult to find happiness when you work in advertising. Every day you must fight against yourself. Deadlines are becoming shorter and shorter. Demands are becoming more and more. You have to consistently come up with better and better and newer and newer ideas. You also have to advise clients because brands have so many options and directions that they can take that they’re always second guessing their decisions.

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Know your target consumer demographic as intimately as possible. This is the starting point for everything.

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